trump chloroquine
An Arizona man has died after consuming a substance used to clean aquariums - but is also found in a drug the US president said could treat Covid-19 - prompting the US media to hop aboard the Trump blame train, details be damned.

The Phoenix-area man and his wife - who survived - ingested a form of chloroquine used as a fish tank cleaner on Monday, reportedly after hearing President Trump mention the chemical on TV. Though the substance is similar to one used in an anti-malaria drug touted as a possible treatment for the coronavirus, the aquarium additive comes in a different form and is highly toxic to humans. But that hasn't stopped a spate of media outlets from casting blame on the president, insisting he encouraged the couple to guzzle down a lethal dose of a dangerous drug.

From NBC, to the Hill - which falsely claimed the man had taken a "malaria medication" - to ABC and beyond, much of the US press corps rushed to place the tragedy squarely on Trump's shoulders. Netizens soon pointed out the problem with that framing, however, shredding the news agencies for running with a "dishonest" narrative.

While the president did suggest the anti-malarial had "very encouraging early results" in treating Covid-19, he noted it would still have to undergo clinical trials. At no point did he recommend anyone self-administer the drug outside the care of a doctor, and certainly never called for the consumption of any form of fish tank cleaner, as many pointed out on social media.

"BREAKING FROM @NBCNews! Do NOT ingest FISH TANK CLEANER," wrote former Trump staffer Boris Epshteyn.

"They ate aquarium cleaner chemicals. Aquarium cleaner," said another netizen. "Sad, but Trump isn't responsible for people's stupid actions."

The Arizona man is not the first to go wrong in attempting to self-medicate with the substance, with a number of reports out of Nigeria stating that hospitals had seen a series of chloroquine overdoses following President Trump's first mention that it could be used to combat Covid-19.